OMAHA, Neb. – Some fortunate Berkshire Hathaway investors at this year’s annual meeting will get the chance to sleep in the same bedroom Warren Buffett did as a boy.
The home-sharing service Airbnb is offering a free three-night stay at the Omaha home around the May 2 meeting as a way to promote its services. Shareholders who want to stay at the three-bedroom house must submit short essays and prove they own Berkshire stock.
The crowd that fills Omaha’s downtown arena and several overflow rooms to listen to Buffett answer questions always books every hotel room in the region. Buffett’s childhood home is about 15 minutes away from the arena.
Airbnb is signing up people willing to rent all or part of their homes to help provide rooms for the more than 40,000 people expected to attend this year’s meeting.
Buffett has said he hopes Airbnb can help shareholders who don’t want to pay for the expensive three-night minimum stays that some Omaha hotels require during the meeting. He has long been reluctant to invest in technology companies because it’s hard to predict which ones will thrive, and Berkshire doesn’t have a stake in Airbnb.
Buffett’s family started living in the home at 2501 N. 53rd Street in central Omaha in 1936. Buffett lived there with his parents and two sisters for several years before his father was first elected to Congress in 1942.
Buffett launched one of his first business ventures selling bottles of Coke to neighbors for a nickel after buying a six-pack for 25 cents, and he bought his first stock in 1942 while living there.
Buffett’s mother continued to live in the home until about 1966, his assistant Debbie Bosanek said. Buffett’s room was on the west side of the home, and Airbnb said it has twin beds in it today.
The details of the contest and photos of the house are available online at: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5630903 .
This year’s annual meeting is expected to draw its biggest crowd yet because this is the 50th anniversary of when Buffett took over Berkshire Hathaway.
Over the past five decades, Buffett has transformed the struggling New England textile maker into a conglomerate that owns more than 80 subsidiaries, including utility, furniture and jewelry firms. The company also has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co., IBM and American Express.